Kenneth MacLeod (MacLeod, Kenneth Macrae) one of the brightest English authors of recent times writing in the genre of “solid” science fiction with elements of utopian and socialist satire.
Born in the small but capital city of Stornoway (the capital of the Hebrides, which are part of Scotland), not far from which is located the Scottish Stonehenge. The writer tells the following about his parents: “… My father and mother were very conservative and deeply religious Scottish highlanders. The simple farmers had to endure two world wars, and therefore they adamantly and purposefully supported any measures aimed at achieving state benefits and were adamant fighters against any manifestations of socialism … ”
At the age of 10, his family moved to the UK and, with his parents, Kenneth settled in the Scottish port city of Greenock. It was at this age that young Ken discovered science fiction. Kenneth lived in this city until graduation. It should be said that one of Kenneth’s classmates and his bosom friend was another famous Scot, Ian Banks, with whom they were friends until the death of Banks.
In 1976, MacLeod graduated from the University of Glasgow and received a bachelor’s degree in zoology and continued his further studies at Brunel University near London, where he studied the basics of biomechanics. “… My leftist views were formed quite independently in the learning process, regardless of the influence of the family, the Clysideside trade union movement, but as an element of the youth student counterculture …”
Further, he defends a doctoral degree on this topic. At the same time, MacLeod joins the International Marxist Group. The author recalls his life during this period “… I lived in one of the official squats where various people lived – the British, Irish, Kurds, and thanks to this, my life was very intense. After that, I lived for some time in Finsbury Park in northern London for a while after dropping out of the work of the Marxist group, and then somewhere in the mid-80s I found out about the Communist Party of England, just when internal contradictions began to tear me apart into parts. In the future, my interests closely intersected with the Trotskyist group … ”
For about a decade, the author lives in various parts of London and its suburbs. Since 1991, lives in Edinburgh with his wife Carol and 2 children: Sharon and Michael.
Before the start of his writing career, the author managed to work as a clerk in various offices, as a programmer and computer analyst in Edinburgh. Since 1997, MacLeod has risen to the path of a professional writer. The author is a 3-time winner of the “Prometheus Award”, awarded for free-thinking fiction, and most researchers of his work characterize him as humorous science fiction with elements of cyberpunk abundantly seasoned with the libertarian ideas of Leon Trotsky, but there are definitions like “techno-utopian” or “anarchist” primitive”.
The author’s first novel The Star Fraction brought fame to the author and was marked both at home – the Arthur Clark Prize, and in the USA – the Prometheus Award, presented by the Libertarian Futuristic Society, and also received the apt definition of “a successful comic Trotskyist science fiction novel”. Subsequently, this novel was included in the Fall Revolution cycle, one of the novels of which brought the author another Prometheus Award, and another Hugo nomination. The second trilogy of The Engines of Light was written by the author in the style of a utopian cosmo opera.
The author takes an active political position and finds time both for political speeches and for writing sharply satirical works reflecting the state of modern England. According to the author, he writes fiction “exploring socialist, communist and anarchist ideas, in particular, options for Trotskyism or extreme economic libertarianism.”
For those who want to get closer to the author and his political views – an author’s blog.
Awards and Prizes:
Niels Klim Award, 2016 // Translated work (United Kingdom; short story)
→ Who’s Afraid of Wolf 359? (2007)
British Science Fiction Association Award, 2009 // Roman
→ The Night Sessions (2008)
British Science Fiction Association Award, 2008 // Small Form
→ Turn off the light / Lighting Out (2007)
Seiunsh Prize / 星雲 賞 / Seiunshō, 第 37 回 (2006) // Translated story
→ The Human Front (2001)
Prometheus / Prometheus Awards, 2006 // Best novel
→ Learning the World: A Novel of First Contact (2005)
Sideways / Sidewise Awards, 2001 // Best Small Form Product
→ The Human Front (2001)
Eurocon / EuroCon (ESFS Awards), 2000 // Hall of Fame. Best Writer (UK)
British Science Fiction Association Award